Guess who hit another homer? (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

After a much-needed 6-2 win over the Blue Jays in the first game of a doubleheader, the Tampa Bay Rays look to sweep the twin billing tonight in Toronto.

At 41-36 on the season, the Rays enter play five games over .500 after snapping a four-game skid this afternoon.

Shane McClanahan was dominant in his start against Toronto, posting seven innings of one-run baseball on three scattered hits and a walk on 94 pitches (68 strikes, 72% strike rate). He struck out 10 in his second consecutive double-digit strikeout start and fourth of the season. McClanahan now maintains a 1.74 ERA after tossing his 10th consecutive quality start, and 11th in a row where he’s given up two runs or fewer.

The Rays rallied against Casey Lawrence, who entered for the injured Kevin Gausman in the third inning. After quickly getting the first two outs, Lawrence gave up a laser shot to Isaac Paredes, tying the game at one apiece. It was the team-leading 12th for Paredes and second of the series.

The Rays plated three more runs in the fifth inning. Wander Franco earned a one-out walk, then went to third on Harold Ramirez’s bloop hit to right. Randy Arozarena followed with an infield RBI single off Lawrence giving Tampa Bay a lead they’d never relinquish. It was the first wRISP hit for the Rays in 15 chances in the series. After Paredes struck out, Kevin Kiermaier reached on an infield single off Lawrence to juice the bases. Unsatisfied with a slim lead, Rene Pinto followed with a two-run single to right, extending the lead to three runs.

Later, Franco extended the lead to four runs when he hit a one-out, opposite-field homer off the fair pole/screening in left, his fifth of the season. Franco had gone homerless since April 26th — a stretch of 136 at-bats.

The Rays capped their scoring with a run in the eighth inning. Taylor Walls singled to right off Lawrence, who was consequently pulled from the game — giving way to Max Castillo. After Walls swiped second with two outs, he came around to score on a base hit to centerfield by Yandy Diaz. All told, Tampa Bay collected 13 hits, with four coming wRISP.

The New What Next

Drew Rasmussen (5-3, 3.41 ERA) will get the start in the second game of the doubleheader, pitching opposite Thomas Hatch (4-4, 5.12 ERA at Triple-A).

Drew Rasmussen was placed on the 15-day injured list with a left hamstring strain back on June 12. The right-hander was dominant in late April and early May but struggled from the end of May and into June, posting a 5.59 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 19.1 innings over his last four starts. All told, Rasmussen maintains a 3.41 ERA and a 3.89 FIP, with a 1.14 WHIP, and a 3.06 K/BB on the season. Rasmussen is 0-0 with a 1.59 ERA in one 5.2-inning outing against the Rays.

Thomas Hatch has spent the season with Triple-A Buffalo, where he owns a 5.12 ERA through 12 starts. He’s thrown 35.2 career innings at the big-league level, mostly in relief, while posting a 3.79 ERA but a 4.76 FIP. On the season, Hatch maintains a 4.18 FIP with a 1.36 WHIP and a 3.05 K/BB. He relies primarily on a 94 mph four-seam fastball and a whiffy 79 mph slider that sweeps across the zone, while also mixing in an 83 mph changeup that has surprising cut action and natural sink, and an 87 mph cutter that has extreme cut action and natural sink.

You can read about the series in our preview while the starting lineup is below.

Rays 7/2/22 Game 2 Starting Lineup

  1. Diaz 3B
  2. Franco DH
  3. Ramirez RF
  4. Choi 1B
  5. Arozarena LF
  6. Paredes 2B
  7. Walls SS
  8. Mejia C
  9. Phillips CF